British 500cc Racing
While the world’s media descended on the U.K. capital spending the week concentrating on the build up to the Marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton, the traditional bank holiday weekend witnessed another perfect partnership as Maico Internationals, Dunlop, Maxima, No Fear rider, Neil Berry clinched the O.R.P.A. 500cc British two stroke Championship title on Monday, May 2.
Displaying all the qualities of a “never say die” Brit, Berry who had suffered a shoulder injury after crashing three weeks ago relentlessly fought through the pain barrier on his factory 320 M.M.X. to take the overall victory over the two days.As the second largest off road motorcycling organisation in the UK the O.R.P.A. Championship is six races staged over two days at two separate venues and leaves no room for error or indeed mechanical failure as a D.N.F. effectively rules a rider out of the final results.With the first round staged on Sunday the 1st at the fast and furious Elvetham circuit, well known for its flat out straights and curious mix of soil and sand sections Berry stamped his authority on the proceedings with a confident second place in his first outing.Lining up for the second moto he missed the start completely and as the red mist set in so did the British Bulldog spirit and he clinically worked his way through the pack frustrated at his lack of composure on the line. With first place clearly in his sights two laps before the end his shoulder started nagging and he consolidated second spot.As he positioned himself on the line for the final race of the day, not wanting to make the same mistake twice, Berry launched the 320 M.M.X. with such vengeance off of the start grabbing the holeshot and making it very obvious by his body language that this was not going to be a second place, he stormed ahead gaining a substantial lead on the opposition before the shoulder started to remind him it was still there. Although the gap between himself and second place started to deplete, he had still done enough to take a start to flag victory.Bank holiday Monday saw a change of venue traveling only a few miles north to the tighter sandy Elvetham forest track.Different forks and a change to the gearing better suited to the conditions saw Berry in a confident mood as the gate dropped for the first moto. Joining the top three at the end of the start straight he slotted into second place on the first lap and was battling hard with the leader for first place for two laps before he stalled it on the third lap in a tight right hander.With the rest of the field hunting the leaders down Berry rejoined the party in seventh, delving deep into his character to find the dedication needed, he focused hard and picked them off one by one to take the first win of the day.With the first victory under his belt Berry was buzzing and starting to focus on the fact that the title was now within his grasp, and very rationally set about two further victories taking all three moto wins on the day which gave him four wins and two second places over the two days taking the championship title.Neil Berry says: “This has been a fantastic weekend for everybody involved and a great result, A big thank you to all our sponsors, Dunlop, Maxima, Mad Web, Falcon shocks, Pro-clean, Tanks Direct, Parker Fabrications and our most recent association with No Fear and Andy at Poole motorcycles, great kit, top guys, and I would like to dedicate this trophy to Vincent’s father, who tragically lost a year long battler with cancer last Wednesday the 27th April.“With the new bike still firmly under wraps we used many newly manufactured internal engine parts in this particular motor and the bike hasn’t missed a beat since we installed them a month ago and I think the results speak for themselves.”